CHICAGO – For a player who was once a college walk-on, you can’t blame Alec Mills for taking a moment to celebrate the history he made on Sunday.
Luckily for him, the Cubs had Monday off, giving the pitcher some time for reflection on his first career no-hitter and the 16th in the history of the franchise.
“Yesterday I sat down on the couch and was just like ‘What did I just do?,” said Mills when asked if the moment had hit him yet on Tuesday. “I think it’s starting to settle in a little bit.”
The effort was certainly one to remember as Mills pitched all nine innings for the first time in his career and failed to allow a single hit in a 12-0 victory over the Brewers in Milwaukee. He was immediately mobbed by his teammates on the mound, and that began a 48-hour celebration for the pitcher who is in his fourth season in the Cubs organization.
Mills talked about it on Tuesday before the Cubs’ faced the Indians in a two-game series at Wrigley Field, starting shortly after the team got home from Miller Park.
“Getting off the bus from Milwaukee, though, my wife and kid were out there so that was cool. Got to see them first,” said Mills.
Then comes a very typical Windy City way to celebrate an achievement – the ordering of a pizza – which his wife did once Alec arrived home.
“She actually ordered Pequod’s (Pizza) and I hadn’t tried it yet. It was really good. It might be my favorite pizza I’ve tried in the city so far,” said Mills. “That was a little cool Chicago style way to celebrate so that was fun.”
Then came the well-wishes, which Mills estimated came from 320 text messages and many other calls since late Sunday afternoon.
“Yesterday during Carters’ nap, I tried to take the time to get back to everybody so that took a while. I’m thankful for everybody reaching out and congratulating me and stuff. I’m lucky to have that many people that want to do that so I’ll always try to take the time to do that.
“Obviously, very thankful.”
It continues a great journey in baseball for Mills, which started when he earned a walk-on spot at UT-Martin. He’d work his way up to be a 22nd round draft pick for the Royals in 2012 and eventually made his major league debut for the club in 2016.
Mills was traded to the Cubs the next year and appeared for the team in 2018 and was with the club at times the next season. In 2020, he’s joined the Cubs rotation, sporting a 5-3 record with a 3.93 ERA, including three outings where he didn’t allow a run.
“Confidence level is obviously pretty good right now. But at the same time, you know, I think you’re only as good as the next time you pitch,” said Mills of his 2020 season. “So I think I just need to go out there and just leapfrog off of that and just keep pitching like I know how.”
Maybe that will help to create more “Chicago Style” celebrations in late September and October.